Going Lightly, Moderating Your Fragrance Use

One of the more troubling trends in recent years has been the banning of fragrances in public places and work places. It seems more and more work places are opting to ban perfume use and in some instances–fragrance use in general–to create a “healthy air” or “clean air” policy.

Needless to say, I’m not one of the people who subscribes to the pseudo-science that is often brought up when people want to make their case for why fragrances are dangerous. That situation is an entirely different debate that will be relegated to another post.

Let’s, for now, talk about how perfume lovers and users of fragrance can go about minimizing the possibility of having their place of work ban fragrances.

1. Realize how strong your fragrance is.

It is easy to try and trust your own nose as an indicator of fragrance strength but your nose is actually a pretty unreliable tool when it comes to determining the strength of a perfume. Try getting a second opinion, or third opinion. Or go online and see if your perfume is considered a powerhouse or not. Then make a conscious effort to go light on it. It’s better to enjoy your scent when you bring your wrist to your nose than surround yourself with a cloud of fragrance that’s impeding someone else’s space.

2. Think about where you’re going to be.

Are you going to be in an enclosed space? A place where a lot of people are packed together? An office? A school? Be considerate of others and remember that not everyone likes the same scents. So going easy on your fragrance will ensure that you can enjoy your fragrance but not assaulting someone else with it at the same time.

3. Layer instead of re-apply.

Re-applying perfume can be a tricky business. Sometimes your perfume is actually gone but sometimes it might still be there but you just can’t smell it anymore. If it’s still there, spraying it again will intensify the scent for you but also for everyone else around you. So layering comes in handy in this regard. Get yourself a nice unscented lotion (or use a companion lotion that perfumes sometimes have) before you apply your fragrance. The lotion will moisturize your skin and help hold the fragrance for a little longer, thus reducing your need to re-apply.

4. When in doubt, go light.

If you don’t know how someone’s going to react to your scent or don’t know where you’re going to end up that day, go light. Never assume that other people are going to love how you smell, no matter how inoffensive or popular your perfume is. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to people.

5. Be considerate of those who may have allergies.

No perfume lover would purposefully wear a scent that would harm someone else but with many perfumes, it is hard to tell what exactly is in them. People can be allergic to certain components in your scent and their reactions can vary from the mild (coughing, sneezing and stuffy nose) to the severe (difficulty breathing). Now I should note that when I refer to people with allergies, I don’t mean the people who label their allergies as a blanket, “I’m allergic to all perfume. Aaaaah!” But there are people out there who have adverse reactions to certain aroma components such as jasmine essential oil. You simply don’t know who is going to react to what. It is easier to keep a reign on your fragrance if you go light on it where an allergic individual won’t have to deal with as much of it or won’t even smell it at all, rather than if you slather yourself and risk slapping someone with allergies in the face.

6. Spray sparingly.

If you know you’re going some place and need your scent to be light, ease up on the trigger finger and spray sparingly. I’ve witnessed people spritz perfume directly on themselves several times before walking out the door. And we’re talking Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfums here and not body mists. For a lot of fragrances, several spritzes is way too much. Try to limit your spraying to three or less. With exception to some very strong fragrances, three spritzes is a generally safe bet. Don’t hold yourself to always apply three spritzes. You will sometimes need to use less and in some cases (as with Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle) even one or two sprays is more than enough.

7. Where you apply depends on how strong you smell.

Did you know that where you apply your perfume can have an effect on how strong you smell to others? For instance, most people like to apply perfume to both wrists and to the neck. This creates a sort of aura around your upper body that gives off lots of scent as the wrists and neck are considered pulse points. The pulse points on the body are a little warmer than other areas and thus the scent is released faster and may smell more potent. If you want to perfume yourself in a lighter way, try spraying the ankles or the back of the knees. This way, you’re still wearing perfume but the scent has to travel further to reach the nose of whoever is around you. This can sometimes temper the scent and make it seem lighter.

Probably the most important thing to keep in mind if you plan on using perfumes around other people is to remember that while you might love your perfume, other people may not. Perfume is a mostly personal thing. It is okay to project your scent in some instances but no matter how inoffensive a scent might be, you cannot please everyone all the time.

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